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BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA/ORAMO - SCHMITT ..... THE music of French composer Florent Schmitt is a rich brew; a post-Wagnerian sensibility, allied to the rich, sumptuous orchestral texture of Richard Strauss but leavened with the Gallic elegance of Ravel.

In 1920 he composed the incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and two Suites from that score are featured on this disc. In the second suite there's also Orgie et Danses, a lush Straussian piece - Schmitt's best known work was his own version of Salome - which demonstrates his mastery in balancing huge orchestral forces.

Sakari Oramo conducts a ravishing performance by the BBC orchestra - led by the CBSO's Zoe Beyers - enhanced by a spectacular sound-scape recorded in the Watford Colosseum, a favourite recording venue of Phillips in the Sixties and Seventies. Schmitt's three-movement Symphony No. 2, completed in 1957 when the composer was 87, has a tender, nostalgic slow movement sensitively played and conducted.

Norman Stinchcombe KIM WILDE - HERE COME THE ALIENS ..... KIM Wilde once warned you should Never Trust A Stranger; here is another public service announcement. The UK's green-fingered queen of 1980s new wave pop has cultivated an obsession with little green men.

"They're out there in the stars, maybe they come from Mars," she sings on 1969, the tacit title track to Here Come The Aliens. Pop Don't Stop pays homage to Buggles classic Video Killed The Radio Star with its piano-led intro before bursting away on an interplanetary path.

Wilde has certainly seen some extraordinary things. The real revelation here is that her 14th studio album might be the Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist's finest non-horticultural work in decades.

ALEXANDRA BURKE - THE TRUTH IS ..... AFTER a six-year wait, Alexandra Burke has grown as an artist and as a woman, particularly in the past year - what with her successful Strictly stint and the death of her mother - and is set on making her mark in music again.

However, for all that life experience and the absorption of a more musical theatre-friendly style - thanks to her years treading the boards in the West End - somehow this new effort doesn't feel like she's quite giving her best... yet.

The power ballads are pleasant, if not a bit lacking in true heart, while other tracks have the essence of something great but fall short of brilliance.

A highlight is her duet with Ronan Keating, Say We'll Meet Again.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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